One by one by one

Liar, beggar-man, thief—that’s me,
a fugitive from sins long ago.
And while faith was a wish and a promise too
it was never for those who came to it light of heart,
hence weeping, down and out, for the once
no more humble for all my faults
than I should have been, but still,
there you are, I can’t deny it, begging all the same.
Honestly, it would all be too cruel
if not for the grace that flows to every kind of thief
who takes back less than he gives.
But the most that flows is, I pray, to those
who steal tales of tears and aches and love
to make them their own, only then
letting them fall and fall and fall,
dropping them, I fear, for forever.

I was driving back from a Bahá’í conference with my wife, Lyn, when, on the mention of something, and along a line of tortuous reasoning I can no longer remember, one thing lead to another and my mind somehow got onto the subject of the book Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John LeCarre. From this, the words “Liar, beggar-man, thief” jumped in and this poem was started

Aren’t we all, in reality, but beggars at God’s door? Nothing we can do can make us deserving of the love and mercy that God rains upon us all continuously; in fact, this is the very definition of the word “grace,” the undeserved mercy of God.

Thank you for reading One by one by one. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2012 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2012 by John Etheridge,


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